The German Refugee
“The German Refugee” by Bernard Malamud is a true-to-life story depicting the struggles of many victims, during and after the 2nd World War. This particular story takes place in the USA, Broadway some time during the Polish invasion, 1939. The main characters Oscar Gassner and Martin Goldberg show just how difficult those times must have been for all refugees, and what strength and courage it took to keep sane, have faith and start a new life. The main themes which are realistically portrayed into this heart gripping story are the language barrier, humanity and faith. The moving motion of this story is based on the main character Oscar Gassner needing lessons in English, so he can start a new job and a new life like so many others before him. At his aid comes a young life-hungry, ambitious student Martin who offers his services to the desperate journalist of Berlin. From here on a profound friendship starts where neither of them completely understand each other. Oscar is terrified of speaking in public as his job requires, but on the other side he is left with no choice, he would rather utter mangled English than write or speak German which mostly makes him clench in a ball of disgust, disappointment, shame and depression. Because of the language barrier, he cannot completely talk about his feelings or fears, and even under Martin’s persistent, positive and kind care, in the end things turn rotten. The language barrier is what creates an ocean of unsaid things between Oscar and Martin and if any refugee fails to swim out, they eventually drown into their own suppressed words. The second theme in “The German Refugee”, humanity, is faintly underlines in all actions of this story’s heroes. Oskar and martin seem to be on the opposite sides about this matter but in the end they slightly agree. Oskar agrees that humanity should’ve kept his nation pure, should’ve kept his family together but things turned very different for him. Even...
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